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Study: Less meth manufacturing

Declining levels of pseudoephedrine sales in Alabama and Covington County mean methamphetamine production has declined, too.

But local law enforcement officers say while manufacturing might have declined, drug use is still prevalent.

Data from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) shows in 2014 Alabama has seen the second highest reduction of sales of pseudoephedrine (PSE) in the country.

PSE is a primary ingredient used to manufacture methamphetamine (meth). The sale of PSE has been monitored in Alabama since 2012.

Since the passage of some of the nation’s toughest anti-meth laws in 2012, there has been a steady decline of meth labs found in the state, according to a press release from the organization.

“That is 100 percent correct,” Covington County Drug Task Force Investigator Greg Jackson said.

A report by the Alabama Drug Task Force said meth lab seizures in the state dropped more than 78 percent from 720 in 2010 to 154 in 2013.

In Covington County in 2013, more than 800 boxes of PSE sales were blocked, according to NADDI data. This kept 1,967 grams of PSE from potentially being used in meth production in Covington County.

While Jackson agreed that sales have declined, he said there has been no decline in drug use.

“The law has definitely helped with production in Covington County, but demand is not down,” Jackson said. “Dope cooked in other states is being shipped in.”

The 2012 legislation has greatly reduced the production of meth in Alabama; it has not eliminated the demand. Upwards of 80 percent of meth seized is Mexican made meth called “Ice.”

“It’s just a change in where they get the drugs,” Jackson said. “Mexican meth is so much easier to get.”

According to the executive director of NADDI, Charles F. Cichon, Alabama is stepping up efforts to take the fight directly to meth criminals.

“As NPLEx helps Alabama law enforcement officials curb domestic methamphetamine production, they will be able to focus further on the even greater threat of imported meth from Mexico,” Cichon said.